Tag Archives: baking

love in every bite…

With Valentine’s Day being on a Saturday this year, it was perfect to do something a bit different from years past… This meant making the entire experience a dual effort!
The day started by preparing our chocolatey dessert. Chocolate bowls were made, a chocolate sponge cake baked off, black cherries steeped in a sugary sauce and a creamy whipped topping all ready to be consumed later in the evening by the fireplace!
Our dinner was simple yet delicious; filet of beef wellingtons! It began by seasoning and searing the filets. Then red onions were sautéed in some luxurious European butter and cognac. This was then puréed into a slightly chunky ‘paste’. Each filet was then given a spread of dijon mustard, a nice dollop of the red onion paste, placed onto puff pastry and then covered over with a top layer of pastry. A brush of egg wash, tiny slit in the top and it was off to the oven for twenty-five minutes… When the wellingtons finally emerged, they were golden, puffy and full of lush flavors!
The day, as well as cooking/baking went off without a hitch… a day of romance, wonderful eats, champagne, snow and a fireplace! What more could we have wished for?

-R

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Freshly baked beauty…

With a stormy day forecasted today and a very sick other half, I felt the need to stay put…
After playing chauffeur to the doctor, once home I decided to make a loaf of bread, from my favorite ‘bread man’ Paul Hollywood, that I haven’t made in quite some time. This loaf is absolutely gorgeous when baked, but just so simple to prepare…
A combination of bread flour, salt, yeast, olive oil and water was kneaded in my mixer until pulled together and completely incorporated. Once smoothed and slightly elastic, the dough was set to rise in a lightly oiled bowl. The first rise took roughly three hours… After that rise, the dough was ‘knocked back’ and formed into a cylindrical shape. The dough was placed on a sheet tray and covered for a second rise. For this rise, I allowed the dough to nap for another three hours to develop an even stronger flavor.
Upon completion of its second rise, a spritz of water, dusting of flour and four deep slashes prepared this beautiful ‘bloomer’ for its bake. The scent of fresh bread baking wafted throughout the house and made the urge for a warm slice inevitable! As soon as baking finished off, a crusty golden and luxurious loaf emerged, and so did a slice to make certain it was as delightful as I expected…
Tonight this enticing bloomer will get a nice toast and slather of Nutella for some naughty goodness!

at a low simmer…
-R

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no sour[dough] taste in my mouth…

Seems lately I’m on a baking mission… this go around was a chocolate sourdough loaf. Just like my earlier sourdough post, this required an equal rest and rising period… No complaints here as again this was worth every ounce of effort!
The flavors were intense, slightly tangy from the sourdough, while chocolatey and sinful from the chunks of chopped dark chocolate. Perfect toasted and with a cup of tea, or slathered with some creamy mascarpone for additional guilt…

at a low simmer…
-R

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who you calling honey!!

So after an evening of rising away, this morning was the bake-off of my gorgeous lavender honey and toasted almond sourdough!
This is not a bread that you suddenly think… ‘I think I’ll whip up a loaf of sourdough bread’, since this is a plan-ahead idea! Actually at least a week since you have to prep up a starter for the sourdough. I have a starter that I made months ago slumbering away in the fridge, however that is made using wholemeal flour, while for this loaf, I made a new starter of white bread flour.
Once my newest starter was fragrant and active, it was time to get baking! The recipe I used was that of Paul Hollywood and like most of his recipes, this one did not disappoint!!
It started with strong bread flour mixed with my starter and salt, along with some tepid water to bring everything all together. Once combined, a good kneading was necessary to activate this bad boy and give it that rise it so desperately needs. After its first rise [five hours], the dough is formed out into a square, spread with lavender honey [see my earlier post on this] and scattered with toasted sliced almonds. The square dough is rolled into a cylindrical form and rolled into a ‘crust’ of more toasted sliced almonds… After the loaves are covered with the almonds, they are off to rest for an additional nine hours [this was the overnight part] to rise again!
Once morning arrived, it was off to bake in a 375 degree oven for thirty-five minutes until golden and when tapped… hollow!
A slight cool down, a beautiful tear and it was time to devour with a luxurious cup of lady grey tea…

**if you are interested in the recipe, you can find it in the Paul Hollywood cookbook, ‘How to Bake’. I highly recommend the book**

at a low simmer…
-R

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A rainy day masterpiece…

So on this yet again, rainy day… I decided to pull another interesting dish from my new cookbook! This recipe had quite a few steps involved so the prep work began in the early AM hours.
The entire bang started by marinating a boneless leg of lamb with rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, extra virgin, salt and crushed peppercorns for roughly eight hours.
While my meat was marinating, I began mixing rye, white and wholemeal flours, along with salt and then yeast in my mixer. To pull everything together, in went some water. Everything was kneaded and then it went into an oiled mixing bowl and set off to rise. As soon as the dough rose, I stretched it out into a rectangle, made some imprints with my fingertips and then pricked the dough with a fork. Again it was time for another rise and then a bake! The baking time was only thirty minutes and then off to cool.
While my bread cooled, the lamb was grilled until perfectly cooked… Then it was onto the fun part, to serve this gorgeous dinner up! The freshly baked bread [trencher as the recipe is called] is decorated watercress, haricot vert, scallions and radishes. On top of this vibrancy, were slices of the succulent lamb, along with its sexy juices…
As the finishing touch, a dressing of crème fraiche, lemon juice, salt and english mustard.
The flavors were incredible… earthy from the rosemary, citrusy from the lemon zest, cool yet spicy from the dressing, while the ‘trencher’ tasted nutty and light, while soaking up all the goodness…

at a low simmer…
-R

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A rainy day masterpiece…

So on this yet again, rainy day… I decided to pull another interesting dish from my new cookbook! This recipe had quite a few steps involved so the prep work began in the early AM hours.
The entire bang started by marinating a boneless leg of lamb with rosemary, garlic, lemon zest, extra virgin, salt and crushed peppercorns for roughly eight hours.
While my meat was marinating, I began mixing rye, white and wholemeal flours, along with salt and then yeast in my mixer. To pull everything together, in went some water. Everything was kneaded and then it went into an oiled mixing bowl and set off to rise. As soon as the dough rose, I stretched it out into a rectangle, made some imprints with my fingertips and then pricked the dough with a fork. Again it was time for another rise and then a bake! The baking time was only thirty minutes and then off to cool.
While my bread cooled, the lamb was grilled until perfectly cooked… Then it was onto the fun part, to serve this gorgeous dinner up! The freshly baked bread [trencher as the recipe is called] is decorated watercress, haricot vert, scallions and radishes. On top of this vibrancy, were slices of the succulent lamb, along with its sexy juices…
As the finishing touch, a dressing of crème fraiche, lemon juice, salt and english mustard.
The flavors were incredible… earthy from the rosemary, citrusy from the lemon zest, cool yet spicy from the dressing, while the ‘trencher’ tasted nutty and light, while soaking up all the goodness…

at a low simmer…
-R

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the crowning glory…

Like a kid in a candy store, I anxiously awaited for the postman to arrive with that brown boxy item… once the box arrived I tore straight into it and from it emerged my version of the bible… my newest cookbook… ‘bread’ from the master Paul Hollywood!
Thumbing through the glossy, picture laden book was painful, as I wanted to make every single recipe listed, but I was on a mission for one perfect puffy, stuffed and twisted doughy element of perfection… The ‘savoury brioche couronne’.
As soon as I knew what ingredients I was missing, it was off to the market to gather them up and then back home to start off baking… This was such an incredible treat to make, although like most breads… time consuming!
It began with the combining of flour, yeast, salt, milk, eggs and butter… After this all was incorporated, the dough was set aside for it’s first rise. Next the dough was rolled out to a rectangle and topped off with salty, thinly sliced prosciutto, torn mozz and julienned basil! Rolled tightly together into a large cylindrical shape, the dough was then sliced down the center and then twisted together and wrapped into a circle.
As soon as this was done, it was bagged up and off for its second slumber to rise again…
Once the dough was puffy and ready for its tan, it was glazed with an egg wash and some grated pecorino. Into the oven for thirty-five minutes until swollen and golden!
The scent flooded the air as the couronne baked away, but as for the taste… well there are so many words to describe, but I prefer divine…

at a low simmer…
-R

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my twist on a classic…

With a soaking rain wreaking havoc on the day, I decided that it was the perfect excuse to bake up an amazing cheesecake!
I had been experiencing a severe craving for the creamy and luxurious dessert, and thought it would help lift my spirits to whip one up.
This cheesecake was different from your typical variety, as I used both cream cheese, along with goat cheese for an added tang and fuller depth of flavor.
The basic elements still went into the baking process, however I added gorgeous vanilla bean seeds in for a beautiful speckle and flavor, as well as a special homemade vanilla sugar.
The silky mixture was poured gently into a homemade graham cracker crust that I molded into my springform pan… It was then into the oven for roughly an hour until perfect.
Once cooked, it was time to set up and then take a doze in the fridge to really come together… As soon as the cheesecake was ready to be sliced, there was no stopping the diminishing that became evident!
The crisp and buttery crust hugged the velvety smooth mixture and just added to the sinful act that was occurring… I’m fine with committing that sin, and there will be no confession from me!

at a low simmer…
-R

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Guilt-free goodness…

With a craving for something healthy, yet decadent and delicious, I turned to a recipe from a dear friend whose website is chock-full-of informative ideas on leading a healthy lifestyle…
So the apple cinnamon protein muffins were the perfect way to go! Full of healthy ingredients: oat flour, pumpkin purée [not the sweetened kind], good vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, kosher salt, egg whites, stevia [I ran out and used Splenda for baking], whey powder, coconut oil and crisp granny smith’s!
The process of combining everything is pretty simple and only requires some pulsating in a food processor… Apples get the first few pulses until mostly puréed, but still slightly chunky. Then everything else is added in and given a whirl until brought together!
Spread out into a non-stick sprayed muffin pan, shot into a 350* oven and roughly twenty-five minutes later little devilishly good treats emerged… minus any potential guilt! So I ate one, and then another… who knows I may be making another batch before the day ends.
***Please note if you’re seeking cake like muffins you will need to incorporate baking powder/soda***

Please check out my friend’s website for the full recipe and also to give her your support… http://dariamcdermott.com

at a low simmer…
-R

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Sunday bake-off!!

So this Sunday turned into a baking marathon! Two fresh loaves of bread were being created; one sourdough loaf made using a sourdough culture that I started a little over a week ago [thanks to the constant guidance of a very close friend in the UK], a white loaf of bread that is rising as this post is typed and a rhubarb grunt which just came out of the oven…
The sourdough loaf will not be baked until tomorrow as it requires an overnight resting/rising period, but already is looking amazing! As for the white loaf, it requires a slow rise and then an additional rise before being baked. The ‘grunt’ takes practically no time to prep and a little over forty-minutes to bake-off! Full of wonderfully tart rhubarb, it’s just what we needed to end this amazing weekend…
What will be conjured up next!

at a low simmer…
-R

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